"Next in line was the drivetrain. I knew it needed to be an early Hemi, just like the old girl started with (the first engine was a 354). I found a nice complete '57 392 and went directly to Tim Banning of FHO (For Hemis Only). Banning is a master Mopar engine nut and Hemis are his specialty. I had seen his work previously, and I was stoked he was going to build the Diamond's heart. Banning and I would talk weekly, and each time we would speak, the end-horsepower rate would climb. Initially, I wanted a sweet 400-plus horsepower early Hemi, which is not hard to do, but that escalated to a nearly 600hp monster-iron heads and all. I wanted to give the visual effect of a dressed-down 392: twin carbs, chrome valve covers, etc., but to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
"During this time, I met my wife, bought a home, and we had a daughter. This slowed the process down for a few years, but after the shock of being a new father, husband, and homeowner wore off, I was back on full time.
"I then met a now very good friend, Neil Candy of Candy's Hot Rod Supply. What started out as a business call from Candy turned into a lifelong relationship. He completely understood the direction and soul the Diamond needed. His fabrication and skill are outstanding and after my first visit, I knew my dreams would soon turn to reality.
"We toiled away in his shop, weekend after weekend, and when business took me away from the fun, he took charge and moved forward. The Diamond took shape and grew very quickly. At this point, I enlisted my very good pal Cameron Watters to lay out a dance floor in the bed of the truck-one that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would have approved of! He applied his magic and brought a killer tiger maple truck bed to the party. One of the happiest days was when Candy, myself, and painter Kevin Howe laid down the '52 Ford Coral Flame paint-just like it was done 40 years prior. The fellas also added flake to the interior and we coined it the "Star Flake Ballroom". The ever-talented Rollie Guertain applied the sweet stripes and John Reid of JR Custom stitched the fine interior and tonneau cover. The truck quickly came together, and finally, the big day arrived-my first drive after a 10-year wait.
"Mmm ... burnt rubber smells good! Vroom, vroom baby!"